If you read our first post in the series on holiday bonuses and employee gifts, you already know that there is no one right way to show gratitude for your employees during the holiday season. The only way a small business owner can go wrong in this is to not show their appreciation at all. If a cash bonus isn’t in your company’s budget this year after you’ve consult your small business bookkeeping, there are still several ways you can show employees you care. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about employee gifts this year:
- Give the gift of time. Employees will undoubtedly appreciate an extra day or two off (paid, of course) a lot more than a $5 fruitcake. While this may inadvertently cost you money, it’s not money straight out of your pocket. You could either close the office a day or two early, or let employees know they have an additional day paid day off they can use at their leisure.
- Throw a party. You can throw a Christmas party fairly inexpensively, if you plan it right. Hold the party during office hours with a sandwich platter and punch, or plan a more elegant or themed party for employees and their families on a weekend or in the evening after work. Purchase a few nice prizes to give away and offer some grab bags at the door filled with goodies.
- Take your team out on the town. Whether you take your employees to a nice dinner, a ball game, or a night away at a nearby resort, they’re sure to appreciate the thought and effort put into planning an event where they get to mingle with their coworkers outside the office.
- You can’t go wrong with gift cards. Everyone loves gift cards. They’re personal, but not too personal, and everyone is happy in the end. Whether you choose a $10 Amazon gift card or a $300 gift card for a luxury spa and resort, or anything in between, employees appreciate a little pampering during the holidays. You can even just opt for a Walmart gift card to help with your employee’s Christmas shopping or groceries, or a gas card to help them in their holiday travel.
- Turkey and/or ham. A classic and common gift from employers–and one that won’t break the bank. Many small business owners make it a yearly tradition to provide the main dish of their employee’s Christmas dinner by giving a turkey or ham during the holiday season.
- New computer or tablet. If you’ve got a large budget and opt not to offer a cash bonus, a computer or tablet is much appreciated and can also help employees be more efficient at work.
- Satisfy their sweet tooth. Almost everyone loves a good box of something sweet. Think chocolate, toffee, caramel, popcorn, and other gourmet goodies. Be mindful of employees who don’t eat sweets and have a backup plan for them.
- Give the gift of knowledge. Did you read an insightful, motivating, or great business book this year? Order up enough for the whole office and pass them around for employee gifts.
- Calendars and desktop goodies. Think outside the box and give a unique desktop gift like a paper weight, hourglass, fancy pen, clock, or this bubble wrap calendar. This website has a plethora of uncommon and fun gift ideas for employees.
- Meaningful office upgrades. Adding better equipment, safety measures, new computers, or ergonomic chairs are also good ideas when cash isn’t available for bonuses. Office equipment can also be deducted on your taxes–win, win!
- It’s the thought that counts. If Christmas gifts and bonuses just aren’t in your budget this year, you don’t have to feel guilty by not doing anything at all. Share your genuine appreciation for employees by offering a thoughtful, handwritten card. Try to make up for tight funds at Christmas by taking a mid-year office field trip or adding an extra $100 to employees’ paychecks, just because.
Whatever you decide to do for employee gifts this year, make sure it is thoughtful and genuine. A little goes a long way with employees who work hard all year to make your company great. What are you giving out for employee gifts this year? Share your ideas in the comments below!